It’s a welcome fact that good chocolate is good for you.
But what might be even better is that chocolate rarely goes bad. (Cue the angel chorus!)
This is due in equal parts to human nature — we don’t tend to let our treats languish for long, savoring them well in advance of the “best by” date — and science. Chocolate contains little to no water and cocoa’s flavonoids protect the fats from oxidation. Thanks to that, chocolate is nearly spoil-proof.
Of course, there are exceptions to that. How chocolate’s been stored plays a role as does its quality. Inexpensive, mass market chocolate made with very little to no cocoa butter and packed with artificial preservatives will go bad faster than premium brands.
Both high-end and mass market chocolate have “best by” dates on their labels. No worries if that beautifully packaged dark chocolate bar you received as a birthday gift is past that date. It’s simply a recommendation letting you know when the bar was at its best flavor and quality. You can safely consume your treat well past this date so long as you don’t observe any other signs that it should be tossed instead.
In general, chocolate with less dairy content (dark, bittersweet, baking) lasts longer than chocolate with higher dairy content (white, milk, Belgian), but all kinds, when properly stored, are delicious for five months to a year. Some can even be enjoyed beyond that.
Like everything you consume, if you see significant discoloration or mold, you shouldn’t eat it. If you’re unsure, it’s best to toss it and start over. Mr. B’s will be happy to help you restock!